Do I have to answer police questions when I’m detained or arrested?

When you are or you are not free to go. But you don't have to talk to the police when they have detained or arrested you. You don't have to answer their questions or give them your name or address if you don't want to. You don't have to say anything.

The exception to this is if you're driving. When you're driving, you must identify yourself to the police.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects your right to remain silent. Anything you say to the police may be used as if you're charged with an .

If you lie to the police, you can be charged with . Ask to talk to a lawyer right away if you've been detained or arrested, and the police are asking you questions.

Exception for a motor vehicle accident

If you're in a motor vehicle accident you may be required by law to give a statement to the police. This statement is called an accident report. You are required by law to give police the information necessary to complete the report.

Your accident report cannot be used against you as evidence of an offence relating to the accident, but making an untrue statement is an offence under the . Also, if you lie to the police, you can be charged with obstructing justice.

When driving a motor vehicle

If you're stopped while driving a motor vehicle, you must show the following to the police when asked:

  • your driver's licence
  • your vehicle's registration
  • proof of insurance documents

When riding a bicycle

The police can stop you while you're riding a bicycle if they think you've broken a provincial or municipal traffic law. If this happens, you must give the police your name and address. If you refuse, they can arrest you. They will keep you until they find out who you are so they can give you a ticket.

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